Director, Children & Youth Cabinet
Project Manager, Children & Youth Cabinet
Program Demonstrates Effective Strategies to Improve Lives of Vulnerable Children & Families
PROVIDENCE — Evidence2Success (E2S), a local initiative guided by the Providence Children & Youth Cabinet (CYC) and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, was profiled by the foundation as a national exemplar program.
“We are very proud to be acknowledged by the Annie E. Casey Foundation as a data-driven emulation model,” said CYC Director Rebecca Boxx. “We still have much to do in Providence, but it is gratifying that our leadership team and local residents have been recognized for their collaborative efforts to improve outcomes for youth.”
E2S is a framework developed by the Baltimore-based Casey Foundation to promote healthy child development by supporting public investment in programs proven to help young people in urban communities with high needs. When launched in 2012, Providence E2S sought to test, develop and scale an integrated prevention model that combined evidence-based programs and involved community leaders in identifying youth needs and prescribing appropriate interventions.
The 12-page report, Evidence2Success in Providence: Using Programs that Work, highlights the promising results and lessons learned from Providence E2S. “Providence was our early adopter,” stated Suzanne Barnard, director of the foundation’s Evidence-Based Practice Group, in the report. “Their strong partnership has led to improvements in outcomes that give us confidence in this approach."
The report notes that the strength of E2S is the combination of good data and collective analysis of that data by public agencies and community leaders from the two participating neighborhoods. Providence E2S was acknowledged for effectively developing a collaborative action plan for identifying local needs, selecting evidence-based programs and measuring progress.
“I’m incredibly excited that Evidence2Success has not only shown us where our greatest needs are as a community, but also demonstrated which interventions actually work for our kids,” said Providence mayor Jorge Elorza. “I thank the Providence Children & Youth Cabinet for championing the framework locally and helping us make smart, data-driven investments for our students. We are proud of the measurable positive results from these interventions, and eager to continue learning how to further support youth beyond the classroom.”
Data was collected from 6,000 students in sixth, eighth, tenth and twelfth grades regarding their experiences with behavior, education, emotional well-being, positive relationships and physical health. This information provided critical youth outcome information on risk and protective factors, the underlying conditions that predict children’s well-being.
“One of the best things about E2S was to give the kids voices [by] using student data – students talking about abuse, drinking, and very important issues that hinder them from learning,” noted Jose Valerio, the former principal at an elementary school in the Elmwood neighborhood, who was quoted in the report.
The E2S Providence leadership team includes executives from Family Service of Rhode Island, the Providence Public School District, the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Department of Children Youth and Families and the City of Providence, as well as residents and local service providers. This leadership team is responsible for sustaining the system-wide collaboration essential to E2S; equally important are the residents and local service providers who bring neighborhood-level expertise and community voices to the partnership, the report notes.
Chace Baptista, a Providence E2S community partnership member, underscored in the report that the typical process for serving low-income neighborhoods is to gather residents’ opinions but then ignore them when designing and implementing programs. In those cases, their “voice has no meaning, [but] E2S is in direct contrast to that, which is why I am such a huge fan of it.”
Noted Cynthia Weaver, a senior associate in the foundation’s Evidence-Based Practice Group: “A big part of E2S is the community voice piece. It just can’t be the public system telling the community, ‘Here is what’s good for you.’”
Based on the collective analysis of the survey data, Providence system leaders and community residents selected five priorities for the participating neighborhoods and six programs to address these concerns. All six programs are underway, and results are promising.
“Evidence2Success has become a way of work,” said Matt Billings, CYC project manager. “It is the intersection of community-based priority setting, a clear and coordinated strategy for the implementation of evidence-based prevention programs and transparent, collaborative financing strategies.”
The foundation is committed to expanding E2S nationally, along with the tools and technical assistance to help sites succeed through budget cycles and changes in political and system leadership. “We would like to have more E2S sites up and running, and achieving results that we can document,” Barnard noted in the report. “Our goal has always been to make E2S as transferrable as possible.” In addition to Providence, E2S works in Mobile and Selma, Alabama, and in Kearns Township in Salt Lake City.
CYC’s Boxx reports that Providence E2S is beginning a new cycle. The youth survey was re-administered and efforts continue to secure public and private financing to scale up programs, as does the implementation of the six evidence-based programs.
“E2S stretched us as a coalition and as a city,” said Boxx in the report. “We were very much education-centric, but we have become more holistic in how we think about well-being for children and youth throughout the city.”
Annie E. Casey Foundation Blog post: Evidence2Success in Providence: A Report on Implementation (2017)
For more on the Evidence2Success initiative, visit www.aecf.org/work/evidence-based-practice/evidence2success/.
About the CYC
The CYC is a cross-sector coalition of 150 members and 60 children and youth serving organizations that is designed to ensure that all children and youth in the city of Providence, from cradle to career, will have access to a coordinated, collaborative, integrated system of educational, social, physical and behavioral health services. The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University is the anchor institution and home of the Children and Youth Cabinet. Visit us at www.cycprovidence.org.